Dialogue Between Civilizations Is an Antidote to Terrorism, Pope Says

Address to New Japanese Ambassador at Vatican

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 29, 2001 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II again condemned terrorism today and appealed for dialogue between peoples and cultures as the indispensable condition for peace.

In a welcoming address to diplomat Mitsuhiro Nakamura, 62, Emperor Akihito´s representative in Rome, the Pontiff expressed his intense concern over “the events that in recent weeks have threatened the critical balance of the world.”

“Over these days, in which numerous points of tension persist and develop, I strongly appeal to all men of good will to adopt, through dialogue and collaboration, a renewed and ever more intense commitment, so that all peoples will be able to have land and each person will be able to live in peace,” the Holy Father stressed.

He said the absolute condemnation of terrorism is an imperative because “the use of violence in its different forms does not make possible either the solution of conflicts or the establishment of the basis for a society that is respectful of all its members.”

On the contrary, terrorist violence “impedes all peaceful social life and reduces to nothing the most fundamental rights of persons and peoples to peace and an integral and shared development,” John Paul II said.

According to the Pope, it is necessary to respond to terrorism by proclaiming “the religious, spiritual, cultural and human values” that are “essential to build the civilization of love and peace,” such as “respect for creation and life, the spirit of ardor in work, a profound sense of solidarity, the capacity to open to transcendence.”

For this reason, the “necessary condition for peace” at this time is “the dialogue between civilizations,” he told the Japanese ambassador.

“In order that the conflicts and tensions affecting the Asian continent be calmed and resolved, this dialogue must be carried out in a special way through exchange between different peoples, different cultures and different philosophical traditions, in respect of the legitimate freedom of persons and peoples,” John Paul II said.

This dialogue is especially important between believers, he concluded, “so that religions will never be a pretext for acts that are contrary to the respect owed to every human being and every human community.”

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